Indian Gooseberry (Amla)

I was in an Indian grocery store last week admiring the delicious looking Indian gooseberries. Then a lady who was standing next to me suprisingly looked at me and asked , what are they? How do you eat them ? I tried to explain to her what i knew and in the end she also picked up a few. Then I thought may be it is a good idea to write a post about this wonder fruit ..

I moved to England during the summer months and that was when i first saw English gooseberries. They are very similar to  Indian goose berries, in colour and size.But they tasted so different from the Indian ones.

Indian gooseberries are called Amlaki in sanskrit, Amla in Hindi and Nellikka in malayalam. They are very rich in Vitamin C  and are also a  very powerful antioxodant . They contain many minerals and vitamins like calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotine and vitamin B complex. The high density of tannins and poly propynols makes this a super berry.

Amla is an extensively used herb in ayurvedic medicines It is supposed to rejuvenate all the organs and systems of the body providing strength and wellness. It is the primary ingredient in an ancient ayuurvedic herbal rasayana called Chavanaprash.I have heard that it is used in chinese herbal medicine as well.

The Amla shampoos and hair oils are traditionally belived to nourish the hair and scalp. It is eaten raw or cooked into various dishes.It has a sharp taste when eaten raw because of its vitaminC and tannin content.  In south India the fruit is pickled with salt, spices and oil. In north India it is usually preserved in sugar and is called Amla murabba. During my last visit to south India I brought back some candied amla (which I found in a grocery store) and used it with raisins when i made fruit bread and it was really delicious. I found out that making juice is a very delicious and effective way to have this super frut.Just blend the frut pieces with a glass of water and add some heney. Pass it through a seive and serve with some Ice.

My mom always made pickles during the Amla  season and they are delicious. My recipe is a quick version of hers using simple ingredients ….

INDIAN GOOSEBERRY(AMLA) JUICE

AMLA PICKLE  (NELLIKKA ACHAR)

Amla (Nellikka)-100 g

Light sesame oil-1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon

Curry leaves- a few

Chilli powder- 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder-1/4 teaspoon

Asafoetida powder-

Salt-

  • Heat oil and fry mustard seeds until they pop.
  • Add curry leaves, chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, a pinch of asafoetida powder and 1/4 cup of water. Simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add pieces of amla and cook covered until they are soft.